Family Heirloom by Lilyanne Kane



        grass ‘neath

            the willow tree,  

                onyx snakes

            surface / thrash

       as water sweeps

    out of flooded

soil. Silver-fisted

    Grandaddy snatches

        one serpent. Gripping oil

            cord of sentient muscles

                at the base of its skull

            he slides the slippery

        beast into fledgling

    eggshell hands that

I    crack   open.  

    Zeppelins dripping

        along the vast sky

            within me. My thumb

                crosses sleet scales. Its

            tail thrashes. The

        creature constricts

    its tail around my

plump wrist and

    my viscid grip slips.

       Twin scarlet droplets

            sprout as fangs snap

                then vanish into the

                crick. I swallow salt

                and anger. The water

         runs clear of leechlike shadows.

      Still, I stalk through the reeds, rage-

        scorched, ‘til sunset as if I could        

             unsteal         his          bite,

                    exchange venom      

                         for naiveté.





Lilyanne Kane is a non-binary butch lesbian poet and educator. They hold an MFA from the Mississippi University for Women. Their work can be found most recently in Passengers Journal, SOFTBLOW, and Open Minds Quarterly. They are on Twitter @CrumbPrince and on IG @PrinceOfCrumbs. 

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